Now that we have provided background regarding items to consider when submitting artwork, let us learn about some imprint methods.
Screen printing starts with us making a screen which will be used to print your artwork directly onto your power bank. The screen is a fine mesh which is coated with a light sensitive emulsifier. When the emulsifier is exposed to light, it congeals plugging up the holes in the mesh. Classically a piece of film is created with the design to be printed. This film is laid against the screen and exposed to light. The design on the film blocks light from passing through while the area where there is no design on the film is clear and allows light to pass through. The area which is exposed to light hardens. The rest of the emulsion coating is washed away and you have the design for printing embedded into the screen. Any place that the emulsion has been washed away is the screen mesh which will allow ink to pass through while printing.
The actual screen printing is pretty automated. The power bank to be printed is placed in position and the screen lowers onto the power bank. A squeegee pulls ink across the screen and the open part of the mesh allows the ink to flow through onto the surface of the power bank. Voila – a beautiful imprint. Does your design have more than one color? If so, we would create additional screens and repeat the print process for the extra colors. The final step is to send the power bank through a dryer to cure the ink to ensure a stable imprint.
If your design has half-tones or gradients (see our artwork blog) or more than one color, screen printing will be one of the more likely imprint methods.
Laser engraving is most commonly used on metal products. The power bank is placed into a specially designed fixture to hold it in place. The fixture is positioned under the laser. The artwork is programmed into the machine’s computer. Then, the laser is turned on to trace the design as programmed. This melts the top layer of the power bank and the engraved area is now your logo. The (now) promotional power bank is wiped down and sent to the next step.
The laser engraving provides a more elegant finish. The actual color of the engraving will depend on the construction of the power bank. Many metal products have an additional top layer of metal providing a finished color. If the color of the outer layer and the base color of the product are different, then there will be some contrast to the engraving. If the colors of the top layer and the base product are the same, the finished effect will be tone-on-tone.
If your design has more than one color or half-tones or gradients in it, you will not be able to duplicate the design with laser engraving.
The first step in pad printing is actually laser engraving. We start by lasering your logo onto a metal plate. Classically, this was done by chemically etching the plate. Either way, the finished plate will have the intended logo etched out. Next, we apply ink onto the plate to fill the etched area immediately prior to the pad arriving to pick up the ink and to transfer it to your power bank. The pad is soft and flexible and is therefore suitable for transferring ink to a variety of surfaces. For instance, a pen has a curved surface – the pad will conform to the shape of the pen as it deposits the ink for imprinting onto the substrate.
As with a laser imprint, a design which has gradients or more than one imprint color cannot be printed using pad printing.
At the completion of each of these steps, the branded power bank and its logo is inspected one final time before being packed up and shipped off to you.